Monday 10 January 2022

9th January 2022 Cycle Paths and Special People


Week Two – January 8th 2022

Hello Sunshine People! xx

Best day of the year so far yesterday, a lovely sunny morning and not too cold, with a lovely cycle path following the River Weaver north for seven or eight miles.

          Lovely people to chat with occasionally, one couple in particular, Jocyln and John were fabulous. Chased by Spot the dog, it was funny to hear Spot's owner shouting Fenton-style behind me as I peddled on.


            New bird for the BIGBY list, a Grey Wagtail* - bird number 64, came onto a nearby branch just above the water level as I negotiated a gate by lifting my bike into a vertical position and shuffling it through.


No wind at river level, the cycle path was muddy in places but having a mountain bike at this time of year on this Biking Birder adventure, made negotiating it easy enough. Beautiful blue sky and birds showing spring intentions, seemed to be paired up already, be they Crows, Cormorants, Mallards or Robins.


        North of Northwich, the front wheel starts to make an intermittant sound that means that the wheel is slightly out of skew. Pulling over I see that one of the bolts there is loose and when I go to my tool kits I find that I hadn't closed the zip and my spanner is missing.

         I start to push the bike, not wanting the wheel to come off as I peddle for obvious reasons. I well remember the photograph Ponc Feliu Latorre showed me of his face after a fall off his bike over the handlebars when he landed on it and almost lost his nose! Ponc, you will recall, is the Spanish BIGBY European record holder, well the ‘clean’ Green Birder anyway. Remember, I am the ‘dirty’ Green Birder because of my using ferries in each of my three Biking Birder UK years.

         After a mile or so and after a local couple had offered to walk to there home and fetch a spanner for me, a gentleman doing a repair on one of his VW Dormobiles, two were on his drive, each looking immaculate, on my request got out his tool kit and gave me a large adjustable spanner. It was frightening how loose the bolt to the front wheel was! He kindly insisted I keep the spanner! 

Kindness of Strangers. A theme of travel occurs once more. 

Reaching my Air B & B for the night, the late afternoon and the evening is a delight, spent with Madelaine and Dennis. Dennis is a cyclist, as can be seen by a line of circular Welsh slate plaques celebrating a cycling event in Wales that Dennis organises. Madelaine tells of her charity work, which includes making a range of jams and preservatives, Dennis makes marmalade and sews coronavirus masks. 

In the last twenty one months, can the pandemic have been going for so long? Madelaine has sewed 3,500 masks, raising a lot of money for her chosen charities, Care UK and Refuge Support EU    

A truly wonderful, magnificent couple, Madelaine tells me of the many times she has been over the Greece to help the refugees there, working in refugee camps.

Now I am not sure of the protocols and expectations with Air B & Bs, this is only my second one but a Vegan meal was not expected but it was appreciated and delicious. 

Kindness of strangers, it pops up again. 

Tomorrow I will be heading towards Martin Mere. It looks like the Belted Kingfisher has done a flit, headed off home, the Americas if it had any sense but obviously this is a large disappointment to me.  

To make up for the disappointment what better than a day with thousands of birds? A visit to the fabulous W&WT, Wildfowl & Wetland Trust, centre at Martin Mere is just what I need, a full day’s birding, perfect!

Thanks to everyone who has donated to either of the charities I am supporting this year.


If you could please make a donation then go to the links on the top right of this page. THANKS.


Wish me luck.

Love to you all, Gary

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